Imagine a game that hits 3 million wishlists on Steam days before its release in early access and gathers 100,000 concurrent players hours after launch. Is this some epic AAA title? Well, it’s not!

Made by one person, Manor Lords launched on April 26 on Steam to reach all the impressive numbers mentioned above. The world instantly fell in love with this indie title, perfectly combining medieval city-building with real-time strategy. But what else makes it so great? Let’s see!

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Realistic Medieval Setting

Many strategy games depict life in the Middle Ages rather abstractly. In these games, players enjoy their time as mighty leaders, and peasants are more of a tool than a vital part of the community. Meanwhile, Manor Lords chose the path of authenticity by presenting a more historically accurate setting.

Peasants have jobs, and the city develops according to their relationship with the lord – the player’s playable character. Also, if the player takes good care of his subjects, they tend to fight harder in future battles. All this happens in a highly realistic environment packed with dirt, nature, and random setbacks.

As a result, players can feel like real lords, managing their estates and overseeing every aspect of their subjects’ lives.

Complex City-Building Mechanics

In most city-builders, the building mechanics work on a similar principle – players collect resources, process them, and construct structures. ML also offers these features but in a slightly refreshed version. The most basic construction unit is a burgage plot inhabited by a single family of peasants.

Video credit: Manor Lords

Depending on the player’s plans, the parcel can be equipped with a garden or a space for upcoming activities. The burgage plot can further evolve into a bakery or brewery, which benefits the entire town’s development.

However, if the player focuses on too dense construction, burgage plots won’t have a chance to grow.

Stunning Graphics

ML was in development for several years but was definitely worth the wait. The result is a game that looks simply stunning.

Running on Unreal Engine, Slavic Magic’s creation offers highly detailed images and breathtaking views. Even puddles on a dirty road can delight with their undeniable authenticity!

Tactical Real-Time Battles

ML is more of a city-builder than a classic strategy game, so battles are rare but satisfying. Depending on the city development level, you can fight using peasants or purchase additional, better units. The best part is players really have time to prepare for possible confrontations.

However, like everything else in this game, combat requires proper tactics. Players cannot send all forces into battle, as the city may lose priceless defense.

Video credit: Manor Lords

Dynamic Seasons and Weather

Yes, the game includes changing seasons and weather conditions, so you must consider their impact on the city’s development. During spring, it’s essential to gather resources and plant crops but there is an increased risk of thunderstorms damaging your structures.

Summer brings droughts, autumn can cause starvation, and winter is purely a survival season.

Community Support and Development

ML has almost two thousand active threads on Steam, so it is heavily discussed even in Early Access. Moreover, Greg Styczeń (or Slavic Magic) constantly stays in touch with his fans, answering their questions and explaining upcoming changes.

In this community, players really feel heard, and many of their suggestions can come to life within the game.


So why exactly is ML such a must-play for strategy fans? The answer is simple – the game delivers what we love most about the genre, refreshing the familiar gameplay with authenticity.

Lords have no superpowers, the peasants work particularly slowly, and a random event can drastically change the situation.

Moreover, chickens have names – a charming detail in this challenging medieval reality! Despite all the hardships, expanding the city brings joy, and every effort feels rewarding.

So yes – this is a definite must-play for strategy enthusiasts. If you want to experience realistic city management — which, by the way, will be even better in the future — play this game.